Eating is a necessity. However, we choose what to eat. The choices we make reveal a great deal about us. The food you eat can tell quite a bit about your heritage, your family, your fears, your sense of adventure, your attitude toward yourself and others, and a myriad of other personal tidbits to anyone paying attention. Everything about eating is a glimpse into your soul.

I hope to reveal a little bit about myself to you through my food. I enjoy cooking. I enjoy eating. I find pleasure in bringing pleasure to others. I hope that by sharing my recipes I bring you a little bit of joy.

Cook my food. Feed it to the people you love.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Baked Egg Rolls

This recipe is at the request of my sister, Angelina.  One of my favorite memories is making egg rolls in her kitchen.

Servings:  8-10 egg rolls
Time:  Prep: 20     Cook: 20
Hardware:   Measuring spoons and cups, a cutting board and knives, a skillet or wok, a wooden spoon, a can opener, 3 bowls, a pastry brush, foil, a baking sheet

Healthy veggies all rolled up in a crispy crunch

  • 3 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 medium shredded carrot (about ½ cup)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 green onion
  • 1 tablespoon pickled ginger
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon + ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 1-4 oz can of baby shrimp (I use Geisha)
  • Egg roll wrappers (I use Nasoya)
  • 1 egg
  • Cooking spray

Crunchy veggies!

  1. Wash and shred the cabbage and carrot. Wash the green onion and slice it as thin as you possibly can. Chop the garlic and the pickled ginger.
  2. Drain the shrimp.  While holding the lid in place, rinse with clean water and drain again.  Set aside.
  3. Heat the olive oil and one tablespoon of the sesame oil in the skillet over medium high.
  4. Sauté the ginger and garlic for about 30 seconds.
  5. Add the green onions, carrots, and cabbage and sauté over medium high heat for 4-5 minutes.
  6. In a bowl, combine the soy sauce, fish sauce, cornstarch, and sugar. Stir until the cornstarch dissolves.
  7. Add the liquid to the cabbage mixture. Add the other ½ teaspoon of sesame oil.  Stir until everything is coated and the liquid mixture thickens.  Sauté until the vegetables are soft, but not soggy about 2-3 minutes.
  8. Place the cabbage mixture in a bowl and allow it to cool.
  9. Fold in the drained shrimp.
  10. Pre-heat the oven to 400°.  Line the sheet with foil and spray the foil with cooking spray.
  11. Work with 1 wrapper at a time.  Keep the other wrappers in their container or they will dry out.
  12. Place the egg in the bowl and beat it.
  13. Place the wrapper with one corner closest to you as if you were looking at a diamond.
  14. Brush the wrapper with egg making sure to cover the edges.
  15. Place 1-2 tablespoons of the cabbage mixture in the center of the wrapper. Spread out so that the filling isn’t a big lump in the middle.
  16. Fold the corner closest to you over the filling. Tuck the wrapper in around the filling.
  17. Fold both corners over the filling as if you were making an envelope.
  18. Snuggly roll the egg roll up until it is closed. Be careful not to tear the wrapper.
  19. Press the edges to make sure it is sealed.
  20. Place the egg roll on the foil covered sheet.
  21. Continue making egg rolls until you have used all the filling.
  22. Spray all the egg rolls with cooking spray.
  23. Bake for 10 minutes.
Step 13
Step 15

Step 16
Step 17

Step 18

Offer your guests mustard sauce, hoisin sauce, sweet and sour sauce, and soy sauce for dipping.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Flatbread Fish Tacos

This beautiful dish screams, "Spring!"  Well it doesn't actually scream, but you might after you taste it.  It's that good!

Servings: 4
Time:  Prep: 10 minutes
Hardware:  A cutting board and knife, measuring spoons

  • 1-1b prepared, warm breaded fish fillets (You can purchase them or make your own)
  • 6 tablespoons Lime Chipotle Mayo (you can substitute plain mayo or salsa)
  • ½  pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1 ½ cups shredded lettuce
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 lime
  • 4 flatbreads (I like Toufayan)


  1. Wash the veggies.
  2. Chop and seed the tomatoes.
  3. Slice the green onions and the avocado.
  4. Slice half the lime for garnish.
  5. Warm the flatbreads according to package directions.
  6. Divide the fish among the flatbreads.
  7. Drizzle mayo over the fish.
  8. Divide the veggies evenly among the flatbreads.
  9. Squeeze the lime over each flatbread.
Serve with a lime slice to garnish.  You can change this up by using Lime-Ginger-Garlic Dressing instead.

Fried Fish Fillets

A Southern favorite! 

Servings: 4-6
Time:  Prep: 15 minutes   Cooking:  10 minutes
Hardware:  A cutting board and knife, measuring spoons and cups, 2-1 gallon plastic zip bags, a fork, a deep skillet, an oil thermometer, a plate, paper towels

  • 1 lb of fish for frying (catfish are good)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1/8 cup + 2 tablespoons of corn starch
  • ½ cup of all purpose flour
  • 1 cup of corn meal
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½-1 cup of oil for frying.

  1. Rinse the fish in clean water and pat dry.  Cut into serving sizes.
  2. Put the egg, milk, and 1/8 cup the corn starch in a plastic Ziploc bag. Massage the bag until completely mixed.
  3. Combine all the other ingredients except for the oil and fish in the other plastic bag.  Shake this like crazy to mix.
  4. Place a paper towel on the plate. Set aside.
  5. Put enough oil in the skillet to fill it about half way up.  Pre-heat the oil until it is 350°.  You will want to monitor the oil temperature and keep it between 320° and 350°.
  6. Place each piece of fish into the egg mixture and GENTLY message to coat.
  7. Then place each piece of fish into the flour mixture and GENTLY toss to coat.
  8. Place the fish in a single layer in the hot oil.  Allow the fish to cook for about 5 minutes and then turn.
  9. Cooking time depends upon the thickness of the fish.  It shouldn’t take very long for the fish to finish once it is turned (2-5 minutes.)  The fish is done as soon as it is golden brown.
  10. As the fish finishes, place it on the plate to drain.  You can place the plate in the oven on the lowest setting to keep it warm.

Serve with grits and hushpuppies or use to make Caribbean Fish Flatbread Sandwiches.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Basil Pesto

Basil Pesto
This is one of the simplest but tastiest  sauces you will ever make.  Pesto is one of Jeff’s favorites, so we use it often.  You will, too.  You can toss it over pasta, rub it on chicken before baking, use it as a sandwich spread, use it in place of pizza sauce, or stir it into Alfredo sauce. 

Servings:  1 cup
Time:  10 minutes
Hardware:  Measuring cups and spoons, a food grinder (processor or blender), a rubber spatula, and an airtight container

  • 2 packed cups of fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup of pine nuts 
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • S&P to taste
  1. Wash the basil leaves and crush the garlic.
  2. Put the basil and the pine nuts in the processor and grind a few times.  Add the garlic, grind a few times more.
  3. With the processor running, slowly add the olive oil.
  4. Stop and scrape down the sides with the spatula.
  5. Add the Parmesan and grind a few more times.
  6. S&P to taste.
  7. Store in the airtight container, in the fridge, for a week.
Uses:  Smear over chicken before baking, place a spoonful on top of individual steaks before serving, mix ½ cup with 8oz of cream cheese for an excellent cheese spread, toss with fresh pasta for a delicious side dish, mix a little in your mayo to use as a sandwich spread .

Use when making my White Spinach and Shrimp Pizza or Linguine with Spinach and Pesto, Caprese Burgers

Pan Seared Pork Chops

Pan Seared Pork Chops
Linguine with Spinach and Pesto and Caesar Salad

These pork chops will be crunchy on the outside and juicy on the inside.  And delicious no matter how you look at them.
Servings: 4
Time:  Prep: 5 minutes; Cook: 15 Minutes
Hardware:  Measuring spoons, a large, heavy bottomed skillet that can be used on the stove top & in the oven (I prefer cast iron), tongs, a meat thermometer, 2 plates, tinfoil

  • 4-bone in center cut pork chops (about 2 lbs)
  • 2 ½ tablespoons Italian seasonings
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400°.
  2. Rub both sides of each chop with the seasonings and one tablespoon of the olive oil.  Set aside.
  3. Heat the remaining olive oil in the skillet on medium high. 
  4. Place the chops in the hot pan without crowding them.  The idea is to sear the outside.
  5. Allow the chops to sear for two minutes.  Turn them with the tongs and sear them for 2 minutes on the other side.     Hint: Always turn meat with tongs. When you use a fork, you allow the juices to escape. This makes the meat dry.
  6. Put the chops, in the same pan, into the pre-heated oven.  Cook the chops for 5 to 7 minutes depending upon their thickness.
  7. Check the temperature with the meat thermometer.  Remove them when they reach 155°.  They will continue to cook as they rest.
  8. Remove the pan from the oven.  Careful it is HOT.  Place the chops on a clean plate and loosely tent them with foil.
  9. Allow them to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Menu suggestion:  Serve with Linguine with Spinach and Pesto, Caesar Salad, and garlic toast


Caesar Salad

I love Caesar salad.  While there are some wonderful dressings on the market, I prefer to make my own dressing.  Less preservatives, more taste.  And if anything is worth doing, it is worth over doing.

Caesar Salad
Serves: 4-6
Time: 5 minutes
Hardware:  Salad bowl & salad tongs, measuring cup
  1. Wash, dry, and tear the lettuce into bite size pieces.
  2. Toss the lettuce with ½ the dressing.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and toss with the remaining dressing.
  4. Serve right away.

Linguine with Spinach and Pesto

This is so quick and yummy.  I use it as a side dish but it is tasty enough to eat all by its lonesome.

Servings: 4-6
Time:  Prep: 5 minutes;   Cooking:  3 minutes
Hardware:  A measuring spoon, cutting board and knife, a large pot, a colander, a serving bowl

  • 4 quarts salted water
  • 1- 9 oz package of fresh linguine (I use Buitoni)
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • ½ pint cherry tomatoes
  • ½ cup of pesto (I use Classico or make my own)
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • S&P to taste
  • 2 or 3 pretty spinach leaves for garnish
  1. Put the water on to boil.
  2. Chop and seed the tomatoes.
  3. Remove the stems from the spinach and tear into bite sized pieces.
  4. When the water begins to boil add the spinach.  Boil for one minute.
  5. Add the linguine to the water.  Stir.  Boil for 2 more minutes (Be very careful as fresh pasta cooks QUICKLY.)
  6. Drain the pasta/spinach.
  7. Toss the pasta and spinach with the remaining ingredients in the serving bowl.
  8. Place the spinach leaves in the middle of the dish for garnish.
Serve warm.

Linguine with Spinach and Pesto